1020 ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND APPLICATION OF NITROGEN TO OPTIMIZE YIELD AND FRUIT QUALITY IN APPLES

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  • 1 Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences, University of Idaho, 29603 U of I Lane, Parma, ID 83660

Influence of different quantity and timing of nitrogen application on various physiological aspects of `Redspur Delicious' apple, including nutritional partitioning, bud initiation, fruit set, yield, fruit quality and nitrate movement in the soil were studied over several growing seasons. Urea at the rates of: 40.2 Kg/ha; 160.8 Kg/ha; 281.3 g/ha; 401.9 Kg/ha; 522.4 K /ha were applied. Each rate of urea was applied: all at full bloom; half at full bloom and half at late spring; or all in fall. In 1993, time of application did not influence yield, fruit weight, color or soluble solids at harvest. Trees that received 401.9 and with 522.4 Kg/ha had higher yield than those with other quantities. Trees with 160.8 and 281.3 Kg/ha had higher yield than trees with 40.2 Kg/ha. Fruit weight in all quantities, except that of 522.4 Kg/ha, were similar. Fruit weight of trees with 522.4 K /ha was reduced. Fruit color was reduced as N quantities increased. Trees with 40.2 Kg/ha N had lower soluble solids than all other quantities. A high level of N increased ethylene and respiration in the fruit. Thus, if the poor color of fruit is due to high nitrogen, a long delay in harvest to improve the color could lead to an over ripe fruit. A preliminary test did not indicate harmful levels of nitrates movement in the soil.

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